HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PURPLE PASSION PLANTS
In the garden, plant your Passion Vine in an area where it will receive some shade from the hottest, mid-day sun. It should be grown in a rich, slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season.
Fertilize monthly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer.
Propagating Purple Passion Plants
Purple Passion Plants can be easily propagated by taking softwood cuttings containing two stem nodes each, from actively growing vines. Plant several cuttings directly into a six or eight inch pot.
Purple passions are not picky when it comes to soil. Their only chief requirement is well-drained soil. They prefer rich, loose, slightly acidic to neutral soil types (pH 6.5 to 7.5), though they can grow even in alkaline soil. The soil should be kept moist by regular watering, especially during the growing season. Since the plant is shallow-rooted, adding a thick layer of organic mulch is recommended. Using a mixture of potting mix, peat moss, and coarse sand is also beneficial for potted plants.
This plant requires regular watering, since it prefers humidity. Water until the soil is drenched, and wait for the top 25 cm to dry, until the next spell. Avoid wetting the leaves while watering, as their hair traps water, inviting fungal growth and brown spots. Reduce the frequency of watering during winter when the plant is not in a growing phase. Water outdoor plants daily, while, once a week or 10 days suffices for indoor potted plants. Water more frequently if you want more flowering or when fruits approach maturity. Watering too much or too frequently can cause waterlogged soil, which is to be strictly avoided.
The plant prefers a humidity level of 50%. Do not use a mister. Instead, fill a tray with pebbles and fill it with water until they are partially submerged. Placing the pot on this tray will provide the required humidity.
Being tropical in origin, the plant prefers good exposure to full sunlight. More the sunlight received, the brighter will be its coloration. Good lighting is vital if more flowering is desired. Plant an indoor vine at an east-west or south-facing window, having a transparent curtain. The plant should be placed at a distance of between 4 to 6 feet from the window to avoid overexposure. When planting outdoors, select a spot with partial shade. If the leaves of your plant are green, rather than purple, then the culprit is likely to be inadequate sunlight. The plant prefers between 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. However, if exposed to the hot afternoon sun, the leaves may develop brown spots due to scorching.
Snip off the tips of all the branches just before the growing season, as this promotes a bushier appearance. Ensure that you sterilize the shears using cotton soaked in rubbing alcohol to avoid the spread of infection from a cut. Observe the vine regularly to remove any dead and diseased branches. In warmer regions, prune the plant after the harvest is over. In cooler areas, do this in early spring. Cut back all vigorously-growing vines by one-third of their length. This is important if fruiting is desired, as fruits only appear with new growth.
Since the plant grows vigorously, fertilizing is very important. Fertilize the plant once every week during periods of active growth. This dosage can be reduced to once every two weeks in spring, and once every month during winter. Use a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer after diluting it to half, such as a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-5-20. Giving a liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen like most products available in the market, such as a 20-20-20, leads to lots of leafy growth, but little flowering and fruiting. This leafy growth is attractive to a lot of insect pests, leading to an infestation. One can also provide bone meal as a fertilizer. If frost has taken a heavy toll, fertilize the plant once it gets warmer.
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